Dispatches from SXSW Interactive, Part 1: The world needs more apps

Dispatches from SXSW Interactive, Part 1: The world needs more apps

John Tierney is the Executive Producer of KATU.com in Portland. He went to South by Southwest Interactive. Here is the first of two observations from him.

Somewhere out there is an investor with deep pockets who is thinking “the world needs more apps.” After a week at South by Southwest Interactive, it might be more accurate to say lots of investors think the world needs more apps.

And it seems they all have really weird names. As a lawyer friend explained to me, it’s quite difficult to trademark a new name for an app while still being at least somewhat descriptive. 

SXSW is a chance for tech start-ups to connect with thousands of potential customers and, importantly, investors.

Some are ready for the big-time, but some clearly aren’t. For instance, I was talking with the creator of a website that pulls in videos from other sources on the web. It seemed like a clever idea, but a few minutes into his pitch it became clear the guy had a poor grasp of copyright law.

I started asking questions about how his software worked within copyright laws and it quickly became clear he had never considered this simple legal question. My lawyer friend quickly concluded his entire business model was based on something that was illegal.

Needless to say, I doubt he found a lot of customers or investors. He should probably focus on finding a good lawyer.

That being said, maybe I saw the “next big thing” at SXSW this year. After all, it was the 2007 SXSW Interactive conference that saw Twitter gain the traction that would ultimately make it the social media behemoth it currently is.

In the meantime, I’ll be sorting through the pile of business cards I got and figuring out what to download next.